May 9, 2012

Approaching Dendera, 1902 | Luxor - Walking Through Egypt

Approaching Dendera, 1902 
Sir Gaston Maspero

We have already left them far behind when we still hear the women’s laugh and the shrill tones of the children. The ground soon rises, and the sebakh diggers have dug into it so terribly, that it is necessary to be very careful not to fall into some hole.

Rows of ruined walls show the position of the ancient streets and mark on the ground the grouping of the buildings: here the ruins of a vaulted house, there a half-overturned basilica, its pillars of grey stone, its architraves broken, its mortar in black basalt, the whole submerged in incredible masses of broken glass and reddish potsherds. On the top of the eminence is a thick, heavy gate, the sides cut about and covered with mediocre hieroglyphics in praise of the Emperor Domitian and of the Antonines. We enter, and suddenly at the end of a kind of dusty avenue see a dozen yards above us in the air an army of large, calm, smiling faces sheltered by a stiff, hard cornice. It is as if the temple was starting from the ground to go to meet the visitor.


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